Pakistan goes into the one-day series with more confidence after beating South Africa in their last T20 match by six runs, drawing the T20 series 1-1. This gives Pakistan a fighting chance against South Africa after the team suffered in the UAE ODI series a 4-1 defeat.
The tourists will now look to defeat the South African team on their home turf in this three-match series. Pakistan toured South Africa earlier this year in March, but were defeated 3-2 in the five-match series. This time Pakistan has a different line-up with Mohammad Irfan, Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Malik out of the squad and unable to play due to injury. Other players that were present in March 2013 and who are not here for this series are Imran Farhat, Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan, Wahab Riaz and Umar Gul. Half of the players might’ve not been present in March, but they have been playing regularly in Pakistani colours against the Proteas in both T20 and one-day squads of late.
South Africa has also made a few changes in their one-day line-up. Jacques Kallis is making his long awaited return to ODIs for the men in light green after being absent from the South Africa squad for more than a year and a alf. Kallis’ inclusion in the squad comes as a relief as the Proteas have lost Faf du Plessis owing to his honeymoon after his marriage on Saturday.
A few familiar faces will feature again in the one-day series, one of them being, Graeme Smith. Smith who was injured during the one-day series in UAE, will slot back into the opening batsman’s position. There is a slight dilemma as there are three batsmen fighting for the coveted opening spot role with Quinton de Kock, who replaced Smith after his injury, doing well in the company of Hashim Amla. Smith’s inclusion might either mean de Kock steps out of the one-day squad or it might result in one other player losing his place.
Another returning player is Vernon Philander, the number two Test bowler in the world, has always been economical in his position in the Proteas squad. Many have questioned that South Africa aren’t making optimum use of him and want him to be included in the T20 squad as well.
South Africa’s batting line-up will have to do better though to contend with Pakistan’s superb bowling unit as the number one ODI bowler is ready to spin his way to some wickets. Another troubling prospect is facing Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez, who continue to provide wickets for the tourists. Another new exciting bowler coming out of Pakistan is Bilawal Bhatti, who impressed with his economical bowling and good line and length.
South Africa is currently third on the ICC ODI Rankings and Pakistan is fourth. If South Africa wins the series, they might replace Sri Lanka at the top of the ICC one-day rankings. South Africa last went top of the one-day rankings in August 2012 but, India overtook them after the Proteas moved further down the rankings.
South Africa takes on Pakistan in the first ODI on Sunday, 24 November at Sahara Park Newlands. Pakistan has yet to win a match at Newlands and their last match played at the scenic ground was in 2007 when South Africa thrashed them by 10 wickets.
South Africa ODI squad: AB de Villiers (capt.), Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Jacques Kallis, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Vernon Philander, Wayne Parnell, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Dale Steyn.
Pakistan squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt.), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Shoaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Junaid Khan, Abdur Rehman, Asad Shafiq, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Sohail Tavir, Umar Amin, Saeed Ajmal.